I wish I were smart enough to be the originator of this term, “Coaching is a language…” All credit goes to Aaron Evans for this term.
Coaching is not something we do, it’s not a meeting we schedule with the people we are responsible for. It’s not a specific activity, though we tend to treat coaching as this.
High impact coaching permeates every conversation we have. Whether it’s some sort of review, water cooler/Starbuck’s conversations, “windshield” time.
Coaching is a language we speak, every day, every meeting, every conversation.. Just as we may conduct meetings in many different languages–English, Mandarin, German, Spanish, French, Australian (Yes, it’s definitely not an English variant)–coaching is a language by which we engage other people in each conversation.
We tend to think of coaching as something managers inflict, when they choose to, on the people that report to them. And, too often, it’s a directive engagement, “Go do these things….”
High impact coaching is a collaborative conversation, a learning conversation. These learning conversations are about thinking differently, considering new ideas and approaches, considering change. Ideally each participant takes something new out of the conversation–perhaps not answers, but questions or issues they might consider. Ideas with which to experiment. Concepts they may have figured out in engaging each other.
But when we think about coaching as a language we speak, it’s power becomes even greater. Speaking that language in every interaction–those we have with our people, those we have with our own managers, those we have with colleagues/peers, those we have with our customers–we are having collaborative conversations in which each of us learn, grow and improve.
When we speak the language of coaching, every pipeline review, forecast, deal, account, prospecting, call review is conducted in the language of coaching. When we work with marketing, using the language of coaching, we help them think differently and learn to improve what they achieve with us. When we engage with our customers, using the language of coaching, we help them learn, think differently, and more effectively achieve our shared goals.
Coaching as a language is driven by a different mindset–a growth oriented mindset in which each of us seeks to learn, grow, achieve in each interaction we have with others.
We move from thinking of coaching as an activity or event, to how we get things done with and through others.
We learn when each of us speaks that language, when our people speak coaching to us, when we speak coaching with our managers and others in our organization. And some of the most powerful are the coaching conversations we have with our customers, helping them learn, grow and change.
Do you speak coaching?
Parlez vous coaching?
Sprichst du coaching?
Taler du coaching?
Habla usted coaching?
Think of how our conversations and experience change when we shift from doing coaching to speaking the language of coaching.
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